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Joy of former Milton Regis soldier Leslie Stelfox, 101, as stolen war medals returned by police

By Hayley Robinson

A former soldier has been reunited with his war medals almost two months after they were stolen from his Milton Regis home.

Police officers handed them back to Leslie Stelfox days before he celebrated his 101st birthday.

They were recovered after arrests were made in connection with the burglary.

Leslie Stelfox with the war medals that have now been returned to him by police

Mr Stelfox said: "They've all been polished up and look really nice. I'm relieved I've got them back.

"The 1917 Russian silver half ruble coin and my Bowaters football medal weren't returned, but it doesn't matter. I'm just pleased I got the war ones back."

DC Alasdair Murray said: "We were very pleased to be able to return the medals to Mr Stelfox and are glad they are back in their rightful home with their rightful owner."

The centenarian, who only leaves his home twice a month, had just returned from a Royal British Legion meeting when he discovered the break-in at his flat in Cherry Close.

Army veteran Leslie Stelfox's Milton Regis home was broken into

It happened sometime between 6.40pm and 8.40pm on Tuesday, March 17.

The medals taken were: General Service for Palestine 1938; the 1945 Star; General Service 1936-1938; Italian Star 1939-1945; North Africa Star 1939-1945; and General Service 1939-1945.

Those that belonged to his late father Arthur Stelfox were: three 1914 campaign medals, one for long service and a special one relating to HMS Swift which would have been awarded for either saving the ship or someone's life.

Veteran Leslie Stelfox pictured during his Army years

At the time, the son of a man who was saved by Leslie Stelfox during the Second World War criticised those responsible for the theft.

Peter Kearnes' father, who was also called Leslie, suffered stomach injuries after a stick grenade was thrown in the river he and his comrades were standing in shortly after landing in Salerno near Naples, Italy.

Mr Stelfox shot dead the German soldier who threw it then managed to persuade another two to carry Mr Kearnes to a nearby beach so he could receive treatment on board a medical boat.

The 67-year-old, of Church Road, Eastchurch, said: "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him."

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